Red Cross Hits Jackpot with Casino Money

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STROUD TOWNSHIP -- People who need the help of the Red Cross of the Poconos will now be able to get assistance faster, thanks to money from casinos.

When a storm hits, like Hurricane Sandy did last fall, and knocks out power to tens of thousands throughout our area, residents need a place to go. That's when the American Red Cross of the Poconos steps in to help by opening shelters to provide a place to sleep and keep warm while power crews work to restore electricity.

While the Red Cross volunteers in the Poconos go wherever and whenever they're needed, they've been in need of an emergency response vehicle to tow their trailer filled with emergency supplies.

"We always had to rely on our volunteers who had trucks," said Jim Rienhardt, the Executive Director of the Red Cross of the Poconos.

Not anymore though, thanks to about $50,000 of casino money, plus $10,000 of their own, they can now afford a new SUV.

"It's great for the people here in the Poconos. It helps us be able to do our job more effectively," said Rienhardt.

The people at the American Red Cross of the Poconos will be purchasing a Chevy Suburban as their emergency vehicle. They will have the American Red Cross logo on the side. Also, all sorts of equipment will be installed on the outside and inside.

The vehicle is going to serve as the Red Cross mobile command center.

Some amenities that will be added include a two-way radio, so the Red Cross will be able to communicate with the county emergency command center.

The SUV will also have flood lights installed for when they get called out in the middle of the night.

"I'm also putting in, which is oftentimes necessary in any type of disaster, a loud P.A .system," said Rienhardt.

The P.A. system will also be useful for non-emergency events, like the annual Run for the Red Marathon in the Poconos.

The new Suburban is expected to arrive in February, fully equipped.